Skip to main content

After vandals hit Ely's veterans memorial, a MN business steps in to help

5 trees that were cut and pulled down were part of a memorial to Ely veterans.

For the people of Ely and those who care about the northern Minnesota town's new veterans memorial, Monday was a day of emotional ups and downs. Or a down and up, you might say.

First came the morning discovery that five young trees planted at the memorial last fall had been destroyed by vandals overnight.

The owner of Ely Flower and Seed had planted the crabapple trees after the group Friends of the Trees of Ely raised the money to buy them, according to a Facebook post that called Sunday night's incident a "disgusting act of intentional vandalism."

But occasionally when something bad happens, something good grows out of it.

As more people saw the Facebook post from Ely Flower and Seed, some left comments offering to donate money toward replacing the trees. Then a member of the family that operates Baily Nurseries, which sold the crabapple trees to Ely, wrote to the Flower and Seed business: "I'd be happy to replace them for you. Please feel free to email me..."

By late afternoon there was a follow-up post from the Flower and Seed owner, who'd traveled to Bailey Nurseries in St. Paul.

He wrote that Bailey was replacing the five vandalized trees with 15 new ones "with pink, white, and red flowers way bigger than what was planted." He thanked those at the nursery for loading up his truck and said the new trees will be heading up to Ely on Tuesday.

Memorial not finished yet

According to KBJR, the money pledged to replace the destroyed trees will now be put toward completing the veterans memorial.

A fundraising page for the Ely Area Veterans Memorial was started by Dick Zahn, who says he's been working on getting the memorial built since he retired in 1972. The memorial honors Ely's veterans of all U.S. conflicts dating back to World War I.

Friends of the Trees of Ely says two of their other trees were also vandalized last month.

A special city council meeting was scheduled for Thursday to discuss the vandalism, KBJR says. Anyone with information can contact the Ely Police Department at 218-266-5477.

Next Up


Spark ignites fire at produce farm near Park Rapids

The fire at Carter's Red Wagon Farm left three buildings a "total loss."

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 4.39.15 PM

A mistake leads to new drinks from Duluth cidery, distillery

Wild State Cider and Vikre Distillery will be debuting their new beverages this week.

1644 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis, Minnesota - June 2022

Rochester man identified as Loring Park shooting victim

The shooting happened after an altercation took place outside of a business.

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 10.41.44 AM

Ordway to bring free livestream orchestra concert to Rice Park

There's a new way to enjoy local performing arts in downtown St. Paul.


12 charged with racketeering over downtown cellphone theft crime ring

Prosecutors allege one of the suspects is nicknamed "the iPhone man."

Brooklyn Center police

Pedestrian killed in Brooklyn Center hit-and-run

The suspect vehicle has been impounded, but the driver has not been located.


Police release images of Arden Hills carjacking, kidnapping suspect

The sheriff's office said the man is also accused of robbing a woman.

Feeding Our Future announcement

Feds charge 47 in $250M Feeding Our Future COVID-19 fraud scheme

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced dozens of indictments on Tuesday.

Petite Leon

Minneapolis restaurant makes New York Times Top 50 list

The south Minneapolis restaurant opened in October 2020.

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 8.43.05 AM

Watch: Trail camera captures moose family on a stroll

Take a look at this moose mama and her adorable twins.


Police chief: 'Karma lurking' for those who vandalized veterans' memorial

Police asking for help finding the vandals who tagged the memorial with graffiti.

The cross at the Belle Plaine veterans memorial can come back

The cross had been taken down after pressure from an out-of-state nonprofit.

Fort Snelling needs help to cover the cemetery with flags this Memorial Day

Their goal is to place a flag on every single veteran grave in the cemetery.

Fort Snelling needs help to cover the cemetery with flags this Memorial Day

Their goal is to place a flag on every single veteran grave in the cemetery.

Why there's no longer a cross at this MN city's veterans' memorial

An out-of-state group put pressure on city leaders to get rid of the cross.

A look at veterans in Minnesota

There are 369,149 veterans living in Minnesota.

No cross, no Satan: A MN town cancels its 'free speech' zone

Belle Plaine is worn down by months of debates about free speech and church/state.